Prevalence of self-reported clinically diagnosed sleep apnea according to obesity status in men and women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2005-2006

Prev Med. 2010 Jul;51(1):18-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2010.03.016. Epub 2010 Apr 8.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of self-reported clinically diagnosed sleep apnea (diagnosed sleep apnea) according to body mass index (BMI, measure of total obesity) and waist circumference (measure of abdominal obesity) in US adults.

Methods: Data from a representative sample of 4309 US adults in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005-2006 were analyzed. Log-linear regression analyses with a robust variance estimator were performed to estimate the prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: The overall crude and age-adjusted prevalence estimates of diagnosed sleep apnea were 4.7% (95% CI=4.0%-5.5%) and 4.5% (95% CI=3.9%-5.2%) in adults. Age-adjusted prevalence in men (6.1%, 95% CI=5.0%-7.3%) was higher than that in women (3.1%, 95% CI=2.1%-4.0%; P<0.01). Age-adjusted prevalence was higher for persons with total obesity (i.e., BMI > or = 30 kg/m(2)) (12.1% vs. 3.0% in men, P<0.01; 7.0% vs. 0.7% in women, P<0.01) or abdominal obesity (10.9% vs. 1.9% in men, P<0.01; 4.6% vs. 0.6% in women, P<0.01) than that for those without total obesity (BMI <30 kg/m(2)) or without abdominal obesity.

Conclusions: These results from a nationally representative sample suggest that diagnosed sleep apnea is highly prevalent among adults with obesity in the general population, especially among men.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / classification
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference
  • Young Adult